girls pouring oyster into a pond
Building oyster reefs LEAF interns build oyster reefs in Ninigret pond in southern Rhode Island © Heather Perry

Youth Engagement

LEAF Internship Program

The LEAF Internship Program offers youth from urban areas across the United States opportunities to immerse themselves in real-world conservation experiences.

Open to high school students, this internship offers career development and hands-on environmental stewardship experiences. Working with mentors and scientists, Leaders for Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF) interns are well-supported and guided to gain work and life skills within a context of connecting with nature.


The LEAF Internship Program is a partnership between The Nature Conservancy and a network of environmentally-themed high schools. To be eligible for inclusion into the network, high schools must self-identify as an environmental focused high school, serve a diverse student body, have a strong graduation rate, and have enough staff capacity to support the program.

If you’re a student who attends an environmental high school and is interested in an internship with LEAF, speak to your school’s guidance counselor about getting involved.


The Nature Conservancy has done more than just give me hope for the future. They have provided me with actual insight about different career paths I never knew existed.

Fern Creek High School Student & Colorado LEAF Intern
Academy for Conservation and the Environment
Academy for Conservation and the Environment is a small high school where students explore the natural environment using New York City as a living laboratory.
Academy for Environmental Leadership
Academy for Environmental Leadership is a small learning community that develops skills through an approach to learning focused on science, mathematics and technology.
The Academy of Urban Planning
The Academy's urban planning, theme-based curriculum draws students out of the classroom and into their communities to develop skills that will move them toward higher education.
Allegany High School 

Allegany High School believes education must be a cooperative effort involving the student, the teacher, the home, the school, and the community.
Arabia Mountain High School
Arabia Mountain High School engages students in active learning and service through collaborative instruction to prepare students for involved citizenship in a changing world.
American Museum of Natural History
The Science Research Mentoring Program (SRMP) at AMNH offers high school students the opportunity to join ongoing research projects lead by AMNH scientists.
Barack Obama Green Charter High School
Barack Obama Green Charter High School prepares students to become independent critical thinkers and inspires leaders for sustainable development with a focus on our environment.
Bronxdale High School
Bronxdale High School is dedicated to fostering a realistic, relevant and hands-on educational experience for all students.
Brooklyn Academy of Science and the Environme
BASE is a three campus New York City Public High School that offers academic excellence, rigor, and helps students be engaged citizens who value and respect the environment.
Central High School
Central High School cultivates leaders hopes to produce well-spoken problem solvers and writers that are prepared to preserve and impact the world for the next generation.
Central Falls High School
Central Falls High School develops its diverse student population into responsible citizens, effective communicators, innovative problem-solvers and critical thinkers.
Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences
The Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences is a college preparatory high school that provides opportunities for diverse students to study agriculture.
Conrad Schools of Science
The Conrad Schools of Science is a grade 6-12 magnet program focusing on excellence in biotechnology and allied health.
Common Ground High School
Common Ground's mission is to cultivate habits of healthy living and sustainable environmental practice among a diverse community of children, young people, and adults.
Denver School of Science and Technology
DSST transforms urban public education by eliminating educational inequity and preparing all students for success in college and the 21st century.
Environmental Charter High School
Environmental Chapter is a public charter high school with a unique experiential learning design for college prep the inspires students to learn about environmental issues.
Fern Creek Traditional High School
Fern Creek Traditional High School aims to create a learning community that engages each student and prepares him or her to contribute and succeed in our diverse society.
Freire Charter School of Wilmington
Freire Charter School of Wilmington provides a college-preparatory learning experience with a focus on individual freedom, critical thinking, and problem solving.
Fort Hill High School
Fort Hill High School is a four-year public high school in Cumberland, Maryland, United States, with about 900 students in grades 9 through 12.
Greene School
Greene School develops leaders and citizens engaged in finding peaceful and sustainable solutions to local and global challenges.
Green Tech High School
Green Tech High Charter School provides young men with a complete high school curriculum backed by a philosophy and culture.
High School for Environmental Studies
High School for Environmental Studies combines environmentally-infused college preparatory courses with applied-learning experiences and hands-on activities for students.
Lawndale High School Marine Science Academy
Lawndale HS Marine Science Academy is comprised of students interested in pursuing science in college or in a technical trade career within the science field.
Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School
The Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School, "A School for a Sustainable City", in which students have multiple opportunities for hands-on learning.
Mississippi River Green Team
The Mississippi River Green Team is a two-year employment and conservation program for Minneapolis youth between the ages of 14 and 16.
Mountain Ridge High School
Mountain Ridge High School wants all students be prepared with the knowledge and skills to meet challenges of the future.
The New York Harbor School
The New York Harbor School provides their students with a college preparatory education built upon maritime experience.
Science and Math Institute
SAMI creates an inclusive high school learning community that provides integrated, inquiry-based experiences combining science, mathematics, and the arts.
Mather Building Arts & Craftsmanship High Sch
Mather Building Arts & Craftsmanship High School is a Career and Technical Education (CTE) high school for hands-on skills-training in the specialized building arts and landscape t
Sound School
Sound School produces citizens of the United States and the world who can think critically; solve problems, question, and act with facility and fluency.
Stuyvesant High School
Stuyvesant provides an environment that will nurture and enhance the special academic talents of the students and deeply rooted in the tradition of STEM education.
The Urban Assembly School For Green Careers
The Urban Assembly School for Green Careers prepares students to overcome our planet’s environmental challenges facing the world today.
Vistamar School
Vistamar School empowers students, preparing them to contribute and excel in higher education and in life.
Walter B. Saul Agricultural High School
Walter B. Saul helps students develop an understanding of career and leadership opportunities that are available to them in the fields of agriculture...
Balboa High School
The Wilderness Arts and Literacy Collaborative is a small learning community that integrates environmental education with science, history, literature, art,and technology.
Downtown High Shcool
The Wilderness Arts and Literacy Collaborative is a small learning community that integrates environmental education with science, history, literature, art,and technology.

LEAF Partner Schools LEAF's environmental high school partners work to ensure students are engaged in environmental lessons and activities throughout the school year. Together, we combine The Nature Conservancy's science and access to natural areas with the lessons learned in school to provide students with the web of mentors, alumni, and peers that is fundamental to successful youth engagement programs.

Are you a student or high school staff member who doesn’t attend or work at an environmental high school but is interested in LEAF or getting involved in the environment?

Here are some ideas to consider:



  • Explore The Nature Conservancy's Nature Works Everywhere  program. Here you’ll find a digital learning platform that provides hands-on project-based learning curriculum with lesson plans, videos, and even live virtual field trips to help students learn the science behind how nature works and how they can take action to keep nature healthy and productive.

Contact the Youth Engagement Team

Have questions?